8

Brian Landrus Trio: The Deep Below

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
If this recording can't kindle a love of the low end in your cochlea then nothing can. For The Deep Below, Brian Landrus—perhaps the most significant baritone saxophonist/low reed man to emerge in recent times—put together a trio with bassist Lonnie Plaxico and drumming icon Billy Hart. Together, they explore eleven Landrus originals and three classics, most of which manage to mask weighty sounds with lithe movements and, more importantly, lyrical thoughts.

Part of the charm surrounding Landrus' work is built around his ability to make songbirds out of instruments that are often mistakenly seen as nothing more than hulking stabilizers. He conjures thoughts of Harry Carney while Hart and Plaxico occasionally flirt with double time during a gorgeous take on Duke Ellington's immortal "Sophisticated Lady," he brings a noir-ish sensibility to the fore with his bass clarinet work on "Fields Of Zava," and he delivers some spellbinding bass flute work on "Will She Ever Know." Sometimes Hart and Plaxico accentuate the allure in his work, and other times they play against it. "It Comes Together At The End," which finds Landrus beautifully adrift while Plaxico pulls at seams and Hart adds cymbal splashes and swelling rolls, is a strong example of the latter.

While trio interplay is at the heart of this record, Landrus also flies solo on more than one occasion. He paints an intriguing and appealing picture with nothing but his bass clarinet on "Just A Fading Memory" and "Open Water," and he delivers a stream-of-consciousness, sheets-of-sound semi-abstraction on "Giant Steps" that leaves the listener breathless, to say nothing of what it must have done to the performer.

Much of this material seems to exist in a dreamy haze, due in no small part to the nature of the instrumentation, the sensitivity and elegance of the players, dialed-down tempos, and the beauty in the writing. There are pieces that feed on movement—the album-opening "Fly," the aforementioned "Giant Steps," and a mutable swinger called "The Age"—but most of the music is more concerned with atmosphere and tripartite connectivity.

Some of these pieces seem to end a bit too abruptly, immediately breaking spells that have been cast, but it never takes Landrus long to regroup and cast a new one. It's a minor issue on an incredibly strong outing. The Deep Below presents some dead serious musical talent exploring material that's at once heavy and dreamy. That's no easy feat, but these men make it look easy.

Track Listing: Fly; Sophisticated Lady; The Beginning; Fields Of Zava; Giant Steps; Will She Ever Know; It Comes Together At The End; Just A Fading Memory; I'm A Fool To Want You; Orebro Treatment; Ancient; Open Water; The Age; Once Again.

Personnel: Brian Landrus: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, bass saxophone, bass flute; Lonnie Plaxico: acoustic bass; Billy Hart: drums.

Title: The Deep Below | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: BlueLand Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Jeru Concerto, Mvmt. 1

Jeru Concerto, Mvmt. 1

Brian Landrus
Generations

Fly

Fly

Brian Landrus
The Deep Below

Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Generations

Generations

BlueLand Records
2017

buy
The Deep Below

The Deep Below

BlueLand Records
2015

buy
Mirage

Mirage

BlueLand Records
2013

buy
Capsule

Capsule

BlueLand Records
2012

buy
Capsule

Capsule

Blue Land Records
2011

buy
Traverse

Traverse

BlueLand Records
2011

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jul25Thu
Brian Landrus Quartet
The Hyatt Regency Hotel
New Brunswick, NJ

Related Articles

Read First Nature Album Reviews
First Nature
By Troy Dostert
July 19, 2019
Read Sacred Kind of Love: The Columbia Recordings Album Reviews
Sacred Kind of Love: The Columbia Recordings
By Jakob Baekgaard
July 19, 2019
Read Perhaps Album Reviews
Perhaps
By Don Phipps
July 19, 2019
Read Terra Incognita Album Reviews
Terra Incognita
By Dan McClenaghan
July 19, 2019
Read New York Trio Album Reviews
New York Trio
By Troy Dostert
July 18, 2019
Read Invincible Nimbus Album Reviews
Invincible Nimbus
By Jerome Wilson
July 18, 2019
Read Syzygy Album Reviews
Syzygy
By Don Phipps
July 18, 2019